Austin (Texas, USA), 22nd April 2017
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders wrapped up Saturday’s intense Qualifying 2 session with some red-hot laps, securing Yamaha its first double front row start of the 2017 MotoGP season and setting the stage for a thrilling race.
Viñales waited for most of his competition to head out at the start of the 15-minute qualifying session. Wasting no time, his first flying lap was looking promising, but traffic on the track spoiled his efforts in the final corner. His second attempt, a 2‘03.912s, moved him to second place before he rushed back to the box for a fresh set of tyres.
With four minutes remaining, the young Spaniard pulled out all the stops to earn first place. He narrowed the gap to provisional pole to 0.083s with a 2‘03.125s, but knew he had a margin for improvement left. He made good on his promising pace, when he dropped a 2‘02.871s to briefly take over pole, before being pushed back to second after the flag was out. Nevertheless, Viñales is perfectly satisfied to have secured his second front row start for Yamaha, 0.130s from the front.
Honestly, I thought I had the pole. When I looked at the screen and saw that Marc was behind Valentino I said “ah, maybe he will do it” and in the end he did, so congratulations to him, because it was a nice lap for sure. We pushed at 100% and the bike was working really good. We had to push for one lap, but I‘m also happy about the race pace. We still have tomorrow to improve. We will be working hard this night to find a new set-up to try and stop the bike better, but I think we did a great job and we can be there for sure. Pushing 100% from lap one until the last lap I think will be the best strategy. There were many riders on track. I‘m not angry at what happened today. When you‘re riding a good lap it‘s normal, riders are like this. There are no bad feelings between me and Valentino. This is a normal thing that can happen, I‘m not complaining. It can happen to me as well, maybe one day I‘m in the middle.
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